Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, January 25th, 2022  

Album Reviews

Bear’s Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash, at the Carousel Ballroom April 24, 1968

Johnny Cash
Bear’s Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash, at the Carousel Ballroom April 24, 1968

Jan 24, 2022 Web Exclusive

On April 24, 1968, Johnny Cash took a smaller version of his touring group into San Francisco’s Carousel Ballroom, where only about a third of the 3000-capacity venue was filled. As this recording shows, though, Cash made it as special to this audience as he would have for a larger hall, and those gathered, as they shouted out requests, loved him for it.

The Overload

Yard Act
The Overload

Jan 21, 2022 Issue #69 - 20th Anniversary Issue

Leeds, England outfit Yard Act, who consist of former Post War Glamour Girls frontman James Smith (vocals) and Menace Beach’s Ryan Needham (bass), unleash a savagely brilliant debut album in the form of The Overload. Smith and Needham are joined by Sam Shjipstone (guitar) and Jay Russell (drums) as they shine a light on the fractured nature of society with a mixture of acerbic wit and deadpan ennui.

The Gods We Can Touch

AURORA
The Gods We Can Touch

Jan 20, 2022 Web Exclusive

There’s a certain magical parity that exists between Aurora Aksnes’ airy physical appearance and her alluring musical complexion.

Classic Interviews

Blitzen Trapper

Blitzen Trapper
The Open Road Leads Back Home

Aug 19, 2011 Blitzen Trapper

Blitzen Trapper‘s gnarled musical roots are so diverse and far-reaching that when they make a “back to their roots” album such as American Goldwing it’s not a retread of past glories. Instead, the Portland, Oregon quintet’s sixth album is another delightful tinkering with the dusty engine of Americana music. These Pacific Northwestern mechanics aren’t interested in admiring from afar. They get on their backs and give the old jalopy a much-needed overhaul. (It comes as no surprise to learn that singer/songwriter/guitarist Eric Earley’s father was a musician-cum-mechanic.)

Comic Book Reviews

Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero

Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero
DC

Dec 24, 2021 Web Exclusive

Growing up in a rundown urban area of Gotham City, teenager Willow is faced by many a challenge: her unemployed, Jewish, single-parent mother is suffering from cancer, there is little money to support them, and Willow is particularly concerned about not only the plight of a stray dog she names Lebowitz but also about her deprived school and community which she stages protests to improve.

Book Reviews

The Listening Party


The Listening Party

Dec 24, 2021 Web Exclusive

Tim’s Twitter Listening Party was one of the few bright parts of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when the world was in full lockdown in early to mid 2020. Tim Burgess, frontman for the Madchester/Britpop band The Charlatans, came up with the simple idea—having musicians live tweet while fans collectively all listen to one of their albums at a preset time—after seeing actor Riz Ahmed spontaneously tweet along in 2011 to his film Four Lions.

Interviews

Tim Roth & Iazua Larios on ‘Sundown”

Tim Roth & Iazua Larios on ‘Sundown”

Jan 24, 2022 Web Exclusive

Leading actors Tim Roth and Iazua Larios discuss the themes of their latest film ‘Sundown”

Elizaveta on the 10th Anniversary of Her Overlooked Pop Masterpiece “Beatrix Runs”

Elizaveta on the 10th Anniversary of Her Overlooked Pop Masterpiece “Beatrix Runs”

Jan 24, 2022

“On one hand, I’m a bit of a contradiction—in me reside basically two, three, or four different artists,” Russian-American pianist/singer/songwriter Elizaveta Khripounova explains. “I think that maybe what makes me a bit of a weird artist also is that at heart and in essence, I was always a composer, rather than a performer. So, for me, it was always about writing songs.”

Pleased to meet you

Yard Act on Their Debut Album “The Overload”

Jan 21, 2022 Issue #69 - 20th Anniversary Issue

Amusing characters populate some of the songs of Leeds, England post-punk four-piece Yard Act, including those on their debut album, The Overload. Midway through the album’s title track, frontman and wordsmith James Smith sings from the perspective of Graham, who dispenses unwelcome advice about how they’d be “better off kicking that dickhead singer you’ve got in out the band” and should stick to covers and avoid political lyrics, especially if they want to perform at a pub called The Grand run by a landlord named Fat Andy.

Lists

Under the Radar’s Top 100 Albums of 2021 Part 1

Jan 07, 2022

For many in America and around the world, when 2021 began they were in a state of uncertainty. The pandemic still raged and the chaotic Trump presidency was coming to an end (even if you supported the policies of the former president, it’s hard to argue that his term wasn’t turbulent). In January 2021 vaccines were on the horizon, but not widely available yet and it was unclear how and when any of us would get a shot. It was also up to speculation as to how peaceful the transition of power from President Trump to then-president-elect Biden would be, given the former’s “big lie” about a supposed stolen election. And only a few days into the new year, January 6 to be precise, it was clear that the transition would not be orderly at all, when Trump supporters stormed the capitol in a previously unthinkable display of insurrection (a term I’d in the past thought of as simply the title of one of the lesser Star Trek movies). For music fans and musicians, at the start of 2021 there was anxiety as to when live music would be able to return, with many music venues barely hanging on. It also seemed that some notable artists were holding back from releasing already completed albums until touring was a possibility again.

Alas, when 2021 ended there was still much uncertainty. While many of us did our part and got vaccinated (and even boosted). While kids as young as five could get a shot in time for Christmas. While there was a brief period where going to a concert, a movie, and the grocery store seemed safe, even without masks on perhaps. But then along came the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and, despite it sounding like the name of a friendly Transformer, the mutation spiked everyone’s pandemic anxiety again. Is it safe to send kids to school, even if they are masked and vaccinated? The Grammys have been postponed indefinitely and will major music festivals and tours be next?

The best that can be said about 2021 then is that it wasn’t as bad as 2020, which for many in the post 9/11 generation might be considered their most trying year. We were able to get vaccinated. Kids were able to go back to school (virtual learning was tough on kids, parents, and teachers). Long delayed movies came out (Daniel Craig finally got his tear-inducing Bond swansong). Some vacations were taken. Politics in Washington got somewhat boring again under Biden. The economy was doing better. But life was far from being back to normal and fear set it in that the pandemic world was going to be the new normal much longer than hoped.

2021 was at least a fruitful year for new music. Some released albums were partially or fully recorded pre-2020, others were written and recorded under lockdown. Herein is a list of the 100 new albums we most loved in 2021, records that helped get us through another tough year. We fully acknowledge that we’re late to the best-of-2021 party. We had other considerations in the last quarter of 2021, such as finishing and putting out our special double 20th Anniversary Issue and finalizing and announcing our 20th anniversary Covers of Covers album, both of which took precedence over working out exactly what our favorite albums of the year were. Plus, we long for the days when music websites posted albums of the year lists in late December or even early January, instead of late November/early December.

For those curious about the process: each of our writers were asked to submit a list of their Top 45 albums of 2021. They had to be new albums (not reissues) first released in 2021. Beforehand we collectively came up with a nominations list and most of their choices had to come from that list, but the writers were allowed to include some other albums too. For an album to make the Top 100 at least three different writers needed to have it on their lists. Nineteen different writers and editors voted and the number one and number two albums were each picked by 17 different writers and most of the Top 75 were picked by at least six different writers. Then via a magic of math and an Excel document, it was all calculated into the list you find now.

Here’s hoping that 2022 will a much less eventful year than the last two, boring even, but that the music is just as good.

Blog

Sundance 2022: Ten Films We Can’t Wait To See

Sundance 2022: Ten Films We Can’t Wait To See

Jan 23, 2022 By Kaveh Jalinous

Picking just ten films was an extraordinarily difficult task, but here are the films that we are most excited to see at this year’s Sundance.